Part 1 of an in-progress TTRPG system to faithfully recreate Fallout on pen and paper! more documents coming soon

Content of the article: "Part 1 of an in-progress TTRPG system to faithfully recreate Fallout on pen and paper! more documents coming soon"


Fallout: D20 is a new custom-made TTRPG system designed to be in keeping with the GURPS-based system used in old Interplay-era Fallout (fan-made, not endorsed by Bethesda), while adapting it to be better suited to a version without a computer doing complex math constantly, as well as adding changes made by later Fallout instalments and personal decisions believed to improve the overall experience. As the first document explaining the basic rules, the rest of this document will be detailing character creation.


S.P.E.C.I.A.L, or just Special, is the core statistic system indicating the character’s natural aptitude in basic physical and mental attributes. There are 7 stats (the henceforth term for denoting 1 Special statistic in particular), each one signified by a single letter in the acronym.

At level 1, a character will have a base of 5 points (their score) in each Special stat, which is considered to be average in every single one, as the minimum a character can have in any stat is 1 and the maximum being 10. However, the player has 5 additional points which can be assigned to any stats of their choosing, multiple times per stat if they wish, up to a maximum of 10. Also, the player can remove up to 4 points from 1 stat, to a minimum of 1, to further increase different stats of their choosing. However, this arrangement is not final, as both cybernetic implants and bobbleheads are found in the world and can raise Special score.

The next several paragraphs will be dedicated to explaining the 7 Special stats and their non skill-based effects.

Strength is a measure of raw physical might of the character, used to determine skill with melee, unarmed and heavy ranged weapons, as well as carrying capacity. As only the latter is purely a function of the stat, it will be explained here and not later:

A character’s base carrying capacity, a metric for showing how much weight a character can carry on their person without tiring, has a base of 100 pounds, increasing by 10 for each point in strength the character has.

Perception is the acuteness of a character’s senses and affects their accuracy with smaller ranged weapons and explosives, as well as their ability to pick locks.

Endurance Is the overall toughness of a character, determining their hitpoints (how much damage they can take before dying, shortened to HP) and survival skills.

At level 1, a character has a number of HP equal to 4 x their Endurance score, and every time they level up, they gain HP equal to their Endurance.

Charisma is a character’s ability to talk to different kinds of people, make deals and negotiate with other parties.

Intelligence is fairly self-explanatory as to what it is, and it affects Experience (EXP, currency used to level up) gain, skill point gain and the character’s ability to use energy weapons, their first aid capabilities, their knowledge of science, hacking and engineering, and their general knowledge of most topics.

Whenever a character gains enough EXP to earn a Level Up, they gain a number of skill points (Which will be explained later on) equal to the below formula:

1 skill point per level if the character’s Intelligence is 4 or below, 2 skill points if the character has 8 or below, and 3 skill points if the character has 9 or higher intelligence.

Agility is the natural nimbleness and dexterity of the character; it controls Action Points (which will be touched upon soon) and the character’s ability to sneak.

Luck Is the measure of how frequently the odds swing in favour of the character, dictating critical hit chance (detailed in upcoming combat document) and gambling ability, which is indeed an oxymoron but still applies to the system

Special-based skill checks

When no particular skill can be used for a required skill check, it is possible to instead roll using the Special stat itself as a modifier. In these instances, one adds twice the stat’s score to the roll.


Now that your Special stats and vague character build are hopefully planned out, it is time to explain how skills are used to apply these stats in day-to-day gameplay.

Skills are subgroups of the various Special stats, denoting various focuses of the character and the training they have in them. While some skill checks (as seen in the upcoming gameplay document) that do not apply to any particular skills will instead use the base Special as the modifier, the majority of checks will be made with these. All skills have a maximum of 20, being unable to be raised any further. Additionally, skills cannot be raised any further than double the score of their associated special stat, so a skill cannot go past 16 unless its’ associated stat is higher than 8, for example.

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Skills are used as modifiers in associated skill checks or attack/damage rolls, with players adding their skill’s score to the roll.

Base skills

To calculate a character’s starting skills, look at the skill’s associated stat (shown below), and use the following formula to calculate it on a skill-by-skill basis:

1 skill point if the character’s associated stat is 4 or below, 2 skill points if the character has 8 or below, and 3 skill points if the character has 9 or higher in the associated stat

Tagging skills

To show a character’s further skill and focus in certain fields, players are allowed to “Tag” up to 3 of their skills, instantly raising each of them by 3.


While the various skills were mentioned in the Special section, they were not properly explained, as will be done now:

Barter: Associated stat: Charisma This skill is used when discussing caps, their transaction, and general economics. While reserved mostly for skill checks, characters can use this skill to negotiate more caps for their services, or less caps for the services of others.

Big Guns: Associated stat: Strength This skill is used as a modifier for attack rolls with particularly large ranged weapons, as is implied by the name. Most weapons in this category are reserved for the mid-game, though there are some early-game weapons under the category, making it still be a viable early-game skill, and the same is true for late-game options.

Energy Weapons: Associated stat: Intelligence This skill is used as a modifier for attack rolls with ranged weapons that use lasers, plasma, electricity or other energy-based attacks. Most of these weapons are late-to-endgame in quality, but there are inferior versions for the early-to-mid-game.

Explosives: Associated stat: Perception This skill is used as a Difficulty (DC) for targets attempting to avoid damage from grenades, mines, missiles or other explosive device set by the player, with all targets caught within the devices’ radius being forced to roll an Agility check equal to double the player’s Explosives skill to avoid damage.

Gambling: Associated stat: Luck This skill is used for whenever a character is playing any sort of game of chance, such as poker, slot machines, or if need be Russian roulette.

Lockpick: Associated stat: Perception This skill is used whenever a character is attempting to pick a lock, open a safe or otherwise break into or out of something.

Medicine: Associated stat: Intelligence This skill affects the character’s first aid ability and knowledge of the human anatomy; one adds their Medicine skill to the amount healed by stimpaks they inject and rolls to fix crippled limbs.

Melee Weapons: Associated stat: strength This skill affects both the attack and damage rolls made with weapons under the Melee Weapon category (seen later on in the equipment document), making it, if combined with the appropriate gear and perks, an utterly devastating skill in combat.

Repair: Associated stat: Intelligence While not having any basic mechanical use, this skill impacts any check made to fix, maintain, assemble or disassemble any mechanical or electrical apparatus.

Science: Associated stat: Intelligence This skill is used to determine a character’s knowledge of non-medical chemistry, physics and other non-applied sciences. It is also used as a modifier when rolling to hack terminals.

Speech: Associated stat: Charisma This skill comes into play whenever the character is attempting to persuade or deceive other people.

Small Guns: Associated stat: Perception This stat is used to improve attack rolls made with pistols, small shotguns and rifles, most of which are early-to-mid-game weapons, but with several late-game options.

Sneak: Associated stat: Agility This skill is used whenever the character is attempting to move without being detected, specifically used as a modifier to beat the opposing side’s Perception roll to detect you, as well as to successfully pickpocket people.

Survival: Associated stat: Endurance This stat shows the character’s knowledge of how to survive, forage and hunt in the wilderness. When traveling, each character makes a Survival roll at the end of each day, gaining 1 day of rations for every multiple of 10 rolled, e.g 1 day for rolling 10, 2 days for rolling 20, et cetera. Additionally, if the mean Survival skill of the group is higher than the detection difficulty of a random encounter, the players can choose to ignore it.

Unarmed: Associated stat: Strength This stat is used for attack rolls made with a character’s bare hands, or unarmed weapons such as brass knuckles or Power Fists. One reason to favour unarmed combat is that the higher a character’s Agility, the lower the Action Point cost of unarmed attacks, costing 6 AP with 1-2 Agility, 5 AP for 3-4 Agility, et cetera, to the point that a character with 9-10 Agility can make an unarmed attack for only 2 AP.

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To enhance a character’s build and give them further specialization, a player can give their character up to 2 traits, which improve them in some way but with a trade-off in another field. A list of traits is provided below.

Bruiser +2 bonus to Strength, but lose 2 Action Points

Chem Reliant +1 to all drug-gained buffs, but +1 to all drug-gained penalties

Chem Resistant -1 to all drug-gained penalties, but -1 to all drug-gained buffs

Claustrophobia +1 to all Special when outdoors, -1 to all Special when Indoors

Fast Metabolism +2 healing from stimpaks, but -2 to RAD and poison resistance

Fast Shot -1 Action Point cost of all ranged attacks, but cannot take aimed shots

Finesse Crit chance +2, but -5 to all non-critical damage

Four Eyes -1 to Perception, but +2 Perception when wearing glasses

Gifted +2 Special points to assign, but -2 to all skills

Good Natured +1 bonus to Medicine and Speech skills, but -1 to all combat skills

Heavy Handed +7 Melee damage, but -1 crit chance

Kamikaze +2 to Sequence rolls, but -1 to all resistances

One-hander +2 to hit with 1-handed weapons, but -5 to hit with 2-handed weapons

Skilled +1 to all skills, but perks are only available every 3rd level

Small Frame +2 to Agility, but -25 to carry weight

Trigger Discipline +1 Action point cost for all ranged attacks, but +5 to hit


Now that all basic non-combat, non-equipment related character creation has been decided upon, further character specialization past Level 1 is dictated by perks, gained every other level and functioning similarly to traits, but without any downsides. However, perks have some form of prerequisite to be fulfilled in order to be taken, generally a minimum Special requirement. Most perks also have a level requirement, so Level will be shortened to LV in this section. Also, some perks can be taken multiple times to stack their effects, so the number of times it can be taken, if more than one, will be stated as its’ Ranks.

It is recommended that a first-time player only come back to this section upon having perks available for the first time.

Action Boy/girl Prerequisite: Agility 5. Ranks: 2 +1 AP

Adrenaline Rush Prerequisite: LV 6 +2 strength when below 50% health

Awareness Prerequisite: Perception 6 You know what weapon an enemy is using, as well as exactly how much HP it has

Aqua Boy/girl Prerequisite: LV 8, Endurance 8 Can breathe under water, do not take radiation damage from swimming

Better Criticals Prerequisite: LV 9, Luck 7 Ranks: 2 Critical hits now do 10 additional damage

Blademaster Prerequisite: LV 30, Melee weapons 20 +5 to attack and damage rolls with melee weapons, +3 to Evade when wielding a melee weapon, critical hits now disarm opponents wielding weapons, dropping their weapon on the ground in the same hex as the opponent

Bloody Mess Prerequisite: Luck 6 +1 damage with all weapons, more violent death descriptions at the GM’s discretion

Bonus Melee Damage Prerequisite: Strength 6 Ranks: 3 +2 damage with melee and unarmed attacks

Bonus Ranged Damage Prerequisite: Perception 6 Ranks: 3 +2 damage with ranged attacks

Cannibal Prerequisite: Endurance 6, Survival 5 Can eat human corpses to gain 2d8 +6 HP and lose 20 karma

Cautious Nature Prerequisite: Perception 6 +2 to Survival rolls when detecting random encounters

Commando Prerequisite: LV 7, Perception 6, Small Guns 8 +3 to attack rolls in aimed shot with rifles

Defensive Martial Arts Prerequisite: LV 12, Endurance 7, Unarmed 12 +4 to Evade when only wielding unarmed weapons

Fast Feet Prerequisite: LV 6, Agility 6 +2 AP per turn that can only be used for movement

Fast Shot Prerequisite: LV 15, Agility 7 All ranged attacks cost 1 AP less

Fast Reflexes Prerequisite: LV 9, Agility 7 Ranks: 2 +1 to Evade

Grim Reaper Prerequisite: LV 15, Luck 9 Killing someone with a critical hit gives you 1 AP back

Gunslinger Prerequisite: LV 7, Agility 6, Small Guns 8 +3 to attack rolls in aimed shot with pistols

Heave Ho! Prerequisite: LV 5, Strength 6 Ranks: 2 +2 range to grenades and thrown weapons

Here And Now Immediately gain 1 Level Up

Heavy Gunner Prerequisite: LV 30, Big Guns 20 Cannot be knocked down when wielding a heavy weapon, critical hits automatically knock down any opponent that can be knocked down

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Intense Training Prerequisite: LV 6 Ranks: 7 +1 point to assign to any Special stat

Impartial Mediation Prerequisite: LV 10 +6 to Speech rolls when you have neutral karma

Life Giver Prerequisite: LV 12, Endurance 6 +2 HP gained upon every Level Up

Mad Bomber Prerequisite: LV 30, Explosives 20 +4 radius of all explosives, enemies who fail their agility roll are automatically knocked down, if enemies critically fail the roll the effects of a critical hit are applied

Medic Prerequisite: Medicine 5 Ranks: 2 All stimpaks you use heal 1d6 +3 additional hitpoints

Mirror Prerequisite: LV 9, Endurance 7 Ranks: 3 +3 Energy resistance

More Criticals Prerequisite: LV 6, Luck 6 Ranks: 3 +1 to Crit Chance

Mr/Mrs Sandman Prerequisite: LV 5, Sneak 7 Hits made with melee or silenced weapons against sleeping targets instantly kill

Mysterious Stranger Prerequisite: LV 10, Luck 7 5% chance upon the beginning of all combat encounters that the Mysterious Stranger enemy appears on the characters’ side. They do not speak, and vanish immediately after combat ends. If multiple characters in the party have this perk, it only increases the chance of the Mysterious Stranger appearing by 5% per character

Night Vision Prerequisite: LV 7, Perception 8 Darkness does not lower Perception

Ninja Prerequisite: LV 25, Sneak 16, Melee weapons 16 When sneaking, melee attacks do quadruple damage

Pack Rat Prerequisite: LV 6, Endurance 6 Ranks: 2 +25 to carrying capacity

Pain Train Prerequisite: Power Armor Training perk, Strength 7 Moving next to an enemy while wearing power armor forces them to make an Endurance roll with a DC equal to twice your Strength score. Upon a failure, they take 3d8+9 ballistic damage and are knocked down

Power Armor Training Prerequisite: Be taught by someone who already has this perk or knows how to wear power armor Can wear all kinds of power armor. This perk cannot be acquired through a Level Up and is simply gained upon the prerequisite being met

Preparation Prerequisite: LV 5, Perception 7 Ranks: 3 +2 to sequence rolls

Pyromaniac Prerequisite: LV 10, Explosives 10 +3 damage with Molotov cocktails, fire gecko pouches, flamers and incinerators

Quick Pockets Prerequisite: LV 7, Agility 7 Ranks: 2 -1 AP cost when accessing inventory during combat

Quick Recovery Prerequisite: LV 8, Agility 7 Standing up only costs 1 AP

Rad Resistance Prerequisite: LV 9, Endurance 7 Ranks: 3 +3 RAD resistance

Rapid Reload Prerequisite: Small guns 5, Agility 7 -1 AP cost to reload weapons

Reach Prerequisite: LV 11, Melee Weapons 8 Ranks: 2 +1 Range with melee weapons

Robotics Expert Prerequisite: LV 8, Repair 14 Can sneak up to robot enemies and roll a repair check to shut them down, instantly killing them. DC is equal to half the robots’ HP

Shotgun Surgeon Prerequisite: LV 7, Strength 6, Big Guns 8 +3 to attack rolls in aimed shot with shotguns

Slayer Prerequisite: LV 30, Unarmed 20 All hits with unarmed attacks are critical hits

Snakeater Prerequisite: LV 9, Endurance 7 Ranks: 3 +3 poison resistance

Sniper Prerequisite: LV 30, Small guns 20 +10 bonus to aimed shot attack rolls, +2 Crit Chance when using aimed shot, all ranged weapons +15 range

Stonewall Prerequisite: LV 15, Endurance 8 Cannot be knocked down in combat

Tag! Prerequisite: LV 15 Tag 1 additional skill

Thick Skin Prerequisite: LV 9, Endurance 7 Ranks: 3 +3 ballistics resistance

This system will be expanded upon in later documents

Source: reddit.com

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